Jordan Culbreath Cleared To Return To Princeton Football Team
Senior Jordan Culbreath, whose well-documented diagnosis of aplastic anemia cost him the majority of the 2009 season, has been medically cleared to return to the Princeton football team for the 2010 season. He will join his teammates this afternoon for the first practice of the preseason.
Culbreath, whose 1,206 rushing yards during the 2008 season ranks fourth all-time at Princeton, received a medical hardship from the Ivy League after playing only two games last season and has full eligibility as a senior this season.
"Our PFA president, Anthony DiTommaso, said that every yard we get from Jordan this year is a miracle," said Bob Surace '90, the Charles W. Caldwell Jr. '25 Head Coach of Football. "First and foremost, we are thrilled to see Jordan's health improve over the last few months. Regardless of what he does between the lines this season, he is already an inspiration to our entire program."
Culbreath, who has rushed for 1,551 yards in his collegiate career, broke onto the scene during a nationally televised game against Cornell. He rushed for 145 yards and two touchdowns; the latter of his scoring runs, a 58-yard touchdown that provided Princeton's winning margin, was featured on SportsCenter's "Top Plays."
“I am so excited to be back with my teammates and I am looking forward to preseason camp,” Culbreath said. “I don’t know how everything will go, especially over these first few days, but I know I have missed the game and my teammates, and I can’t wait to get started.”
As a junior, Culbreath earned unanimous first-team All-Ivy honors after leading the league in rushing. He ran for at least 150 yards in five games, although his most memorable performance came in the season finale at Dartmouth. Culbreath recorded the second-highest Princeton single-game rushing total when he ran for 276 yards and two touchdowns in a 28-10 victory over Dartmouth.
While Culbreath comes into the 2010 Princeton camp with no medical restrictions, Surace is keeping any expectations at the most cautious level.
"We are going to take this one day at a time, one drill at a time," he said. "We have no idea how he will feel after one practice, or after a full week of practices. Jordan has worked exceptionally hard to earn this opportunity, but we'll be monitoring him closely through camp and the season. He will still need to receive treatments for his illness throughout the season, and that will always remain our first priority for Jordan.
"I told him that he would join Steven Cody and Matt Zimmerman as a captain once again for the 2010 season," Surace added. "We don't know what will happen on the field this year, but we became a better team when he brought his leadership and work ethic back into our locker room."